The NBA All-Star break is upon us and we are entering the business end of the season. While most teams know their strengths and weaknesses and are working on fine-tuning things, there's one story that has just started. The New Orleans Pelicans, who are currently seeded 11th in the West, have started to make a run at a playoff spot thanks to one guy - Zion Williamson.
Extraordinary start to the season
The Duke forward was the most exciting prospect in the NBA since LeBron James back in 2003. Unfortunately, he couldn't make his debut on opening night back in October and had to sit out three months after undergoing knee surgery.
He played his first NBA game later in January and has since lived up to the lofty expectations. Through his first 10 games, Zion is averaging 22.1 ppg on 57.6% shooting. He became just the third player in 30 years to record seven or more games with 20+ points in the first 10 games of the career (Shaquille O'Neal and Grant Hill being the other two). He also joined the elite company of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Luka Doncic as the only teenagers to put up 31 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists in a single game.
Zion still a work in progress
The most exciting thing about the 19-year-old is that he's still far from reaching his true potential. If he stays injury-free, it is scary to think about how dominant a force he could be in a couple of years. The version of Zion we are currently seeing is the one that's just back after surgery and a long rehab. Once he starts feeling more comfortable in his own skin (or should I say 'his knees'), expect him to be a bit more bouncier both defensively and offensively.
He also gave us a preview of his shooting abilities in his first game when he went 4 for 4 from beyond the arc. His jump shots will only get better down the line.
A nightmare for defenders
The greatest advantage for the Illinois forward is that there's no one else like him. He is 6'6" and weighs 284 lbs. He doesn't belong to any of the traditional NBA positions and can play at 3, 4 or 5. The opposition's coach will have a hard time finding someone who can contain the Pelican.
Zion is too quick for other power forwards and is too strong for other small forwards in the league and can bully them in the paint. Only other player we can think of with such unique talent is LeBron James. But Zion is almost half the age of LeBron and probably a bit stronger.
Along with his dominant post-up game, if the number one pick adds a good jump shot to his repertoire, he becomes virtually unguardable. Provided he stays healthy, Zion Williamson will be must-see TV for years to come.Published 14 Feb 2020, 21:01 IST